Sildenafil amplifies calcium influx and insulin secretion in pancreatic β cells

Naoya Murao, Risa Morikawa, Yusuke Seino, Kenju Shimomura, Yuko Maejima, Yuichiro Yamada, Atsushi Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in animal models and prediabetic patients. However, its other metabolic effects remain poorly investigated. This study examines the impact of sildenafil on insulin secretion in MIN6-K8 mouse clonal β cells. Sildenafil amplified insulin secretion by enhancing Ca2+ influx. These effects required other depolarizing stimuli in MIN6-K8 cells but not in KATP channel-deficient β cells, which were already depolarized, indicating that sildenafil-amplified insulin secretion is depolarization-dependent and KATP channel-independent. Interestingly, sildenafil-amplified insulin secretion was inhibited by pharmacological inhibition of R-type channels, but not of other types of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels (VDCCs). Furthermore, sildenafil-amplified insulin secretion was barely affected when its effect on cyclic GMP was inhibited by PDE5 knockdown. Thus, sildenafil stimulates insulin secretion and Ca2+ influx through R-type VDCCs independently of the PDE5/cGMP pathway, a mechanism that differs from the known pharmacology of sildenafil and conventional insulin secretory pathways. Our results reposition sildenafil as an insulinotropic agent that can be used as a potential antidiabetic medicine and a tool to elucidate the novel mechanism of insulin secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16091
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 06-2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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